Orioles @ Royals lineups and game notes - May 17

Patrick Smith

John Russell will manage the birds tonight as Bud Norris returns to the hill in an attempt to win the series against southpaw Danny Duffy and the Royals

What team have we been watching the last two days? A 1-2-3 ninth inning on Thursday? A complete game shutout on Friday? This is starting to look like a well-rounded squad. Well the offense still isn't exactly clicking. What's the best medicine for that? How about a lefty who throws in the mid-nineties. 

Time: 7:10 pm Place: Kauffman Stadium (Kansas CIty, MO)
TV: BAL: MASN 2, MLB Network; KC: FSKC, MLB Network
Radio: BAL: 1090AM, Orioles Radio Network; KC: KCSP 610AM, Royals Radio Network

Pitchers

LHP Danny Duffy, Kansas City

2014 stats: 8 G, 2 GS, 1-3, 1.96 ERA, 18.1 IP, 10 BB, 17 SO, .148 BAA, 1.04 WHIP
Last start (@ Seattle): 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, L

Pitch Repertoire (according to FanGraphs)

Pitch Type Velocity Usage
Fastball 94.6 73.2
Curveball 78.1 21.7
Changeup 84.3 5.1

You want a fastball pitcher? Kansas City has got a fastball pitcher for ya. Duffy is a flame-throwing lefty who has predominantly been featured out of the bullpen for the Royals thus far in 2014. His last two appearances have been as a starter. In those, he has gone 10 innings, given up two runs, struck out six, and walked seven. 

This would seem to be a tough match-up for the O's on paper. The team has a losing record against lefties this season, 3-4. And this is a pitcher who has real good stuff, but in order to be successful the Orioles will have to let Duffy make mistakes. He does not give up many hits but will walk his fair share, especially when starting. That means taking a few pitches, which is not something Baltimore is known for.

In his last appearance against the black and orange Duffy faced three batters. He hit one and then made two throwing errors. So, like I said, allow Duffy to make mistakes. 

RHP Bud Norris, Baltimore

2014 stats: 7 G, 7 GS, 2-3, 3.98 ERA, 43.0 IP, 13 BB, 32 SO, .248 BAA, 1.21 WHIP
Last start (vs. Detroit): 7.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO, L

Norris has been changing people's opinions of him throughout the first month and a half of the season. That trend continued with his outing against the Tigers on Monday. He was great for seven innings, stifling one of the best lineups in baseball. Despite his mini-implosion in the eighth, he still showed his worth. His little shouting match with Torii Hunter likely gained him even more fans in Baltimore. 

This looks to be a good test for Norris. Kansas City has the fewest strikeouts in baseball. They are also near the bottom in walks. However, they are in the top ten in average. That would seem to mean that they are putting the ball in play a heck of a lot and when they do, they get a fair amount of hits. 

Norris has been a tad lucky with a .275 batting average against on balls in play. That is down pretty drastically from his career average of .309. More balls in play will surely challenge whether Norris is earning that low BABIP or not. 

Lineups

Orioles (w/ career stats against Duffy)

RF Nick Markakis (L) 1-for-3, .333 BA, 1 BB, 1 SO
3B Manny Machado (R) none
CF Adam Jones (R) 0-for-3, .000 BA, 2 SO
1B Chris Davis (L) none
LF Nelson Cruz (R) 0-for-1, .000 BA, 1 SO
SS J.J. Hardy (R) 1-for-1, 1.000 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB
DH Delmon Young (R) 2-for-8, .250 BA, 1 2B, 3 SO
2B Jonathan Schoop (R) 0-for-0, 1 HBP
C Caleb Joseph (R) none

Take the numbers above for what you will. They don't mean much, especially the ones from Jones. He is crushing left-handed pitching this season to the tune of a .469 batting average. That is the best in the bigs.

Schoop is back after sitting two games with his injured finger. Joseph starts, as he has done against every left-handed starter since being brought up.

Royals (w/ career stats against Norris)

RF Nori Aoki (L) 0-for-4, .000 BA
SS Alcides Escobar (R) 1-for-4, .250 BA
1B Eric Hosmer (L) 0-for-2, .000 BA
DH Billy Butler (R) 1-for-3, .333 BA
LF Alex Gordon (L) 3-for-3, 1.000 BA
CF Lorenzo Cain (R) 0-for-1, .000 BA, 1 BB
3B Mike Moustakas (L) 0-for-2, .000 BA
2B Johnny Giavotella (R) none
 C Brett Hayes  (R) 0-for-2, .000 BA, 1 SO 

Small sample sizes, small sample sizes for everyone! So, most of these guys have only seen a handful of pitches from Norris. Not much to go on. This offense has the fewest home runs in baseball; only 18. They have scored the second fewest runs in the AL; in front of only the Astros.

Game Notes

  • John Russell is managing tonight while Buck Showalter attends his daughter's graduation from Southern Methodist University's law school
  • The Orioles are 17-8 in night games this season (best in MLB)
  • They also lead the league in road batting average: .281
  • Chris Tillman's shutout last night was the first by an O's pitcher against KC since April 28, 2002 when Scott Erickson accomplished the feat.

*Facts courtesy of Roch Kubatko

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